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Well, here I am, almost 18. Supposedly the 'older and wiser' version of myself

My entire life, I've known that one day I'll go off to college. That day is coming within a handful of months, and having an end date in sight is a feeling I'm not sure I like.Alyson Johnsston

Past changes in my life, like transitioning from middle school to high school,  kept most variables the same. I would live in the same house, spend time with the same friends, and do something similar to before.

In theory, going off to college is very similar to my last big transition — this time, though, more variables change. The city I live in, who I spend my time with, and the overall structure of my life will be vastly different.

Ever since I was young, I knew this was all going to happen one day. Years and years in the future, though, when I would be older and wiser.

Well, here I am, almost 18. Supposedly the "older and wiser" version of myself.

Yesterday I nearly got hit by a bus because I accidentally walked in front of it. So, I'm not sure I've got the "wise" part down quite yet.

That's just my problem. The reason I felt comfortable with going to college was because I thought I would have my life under control. I thought I'd feel ready to leave home, know exactly where I'd want to live and what I would want to do.

I'm still waiting for the "older and wiser" version of myself to make these big decisions. I'm not sure if I'll ever feel like I'm "older" or "wiser," though.

As I continue to grow up, only in reflection will I feel like I know more than I did the day before. My age and past experiences don't matter as I'm preparing for college — I won't know what to do because I've never done anything like this before.

If you know me, or if you've read any of my columns, you would know that I like to have things under control and feel like I know what I'm doing. 

The college application process is the antithesis of all of that.

I'm not sure what's going on, I'm writing dozens of essays, I'm taking standardized tests, all in the hope that I don't forget to click a critical box.

I'm sure 7-year-old Aly would be terrified that the girl in charge of her future feels like this. Honestly, 17-year-old Aly is terrified that she's in charge of her own future.

Being aware that the life I've always known will drastically change in the fall is difficult. It's especially hard feeling like I'm still just a kid. I'm not the adult I assumed I'd be by now.

Having friends and family in college makes me feel like I can survive the transition. I'm excited, but as always, still nervous that I'll mess something up.

Having an end date is hard. A lot of lasts are coming up with my final months in Wilsonville. Most things will change in college, but a few things will stay the same. 

I'll still talk to my family, make great new friends, and inevitably stress out over an upcoming test. And, of course, I wouldn't be me if I didn't accidentally wander into traffic somehow.

I'm planning on making these last eight months in Wilsonville the best they can be. Here's hoping my college years are just as great as my time in Wilsonville. 

Alyson Johnston is a senior at Wilsonville High School.


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